What are Joint Injections used for?
Joint injections are generally used can be used to treat degenerative arthritis or inflammatory process involving the joint. Joints that are commonly injected include the knee, shoulder, hip and elbow.
How are joint injections done?
Joint injections are administered in the doctor’s office, under local anesthesia, with the possible assistance of imaging. In addition to the local anesthetic, a corticosteroid is typically injected into the joint to reduce inflammation.
How effective are joint injections?
Any immediate relief after the procedure is usually due to local anesthetic; longer term relief begins between 2 to 3 days after the steroid is given. The duration of which the pain is alleviated varies from person to person. For some, the relief is permanent and for others it lasts for either a few days or a few months. If the steroid injection is not effective for you, the physician will discuss other possible treatment options.
What are the risks of this procedure?
The complication rate for a joint injection is very low; however, common side effects can include swelling, bruising, and inflammation at the injection site.
Other side effects, pertaining to the steroid medication, can include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Water retention
- Slight fever
- Flushed face
- Increased appetite
- Abdominal cramping and/or bloating
*** For diabetics, the absorption of corticosteroids can increase blood sugar levels (BSL), so your BSL should be checked periodically hours after the procedure.
All side effects should resolve within a few days after the procedure